It is a well-known fact that the French are extremely proud of their food. After all, it is regarded as one of the pioneers of modern haute cuisine.
Seemingly complex in techniques and methods, the true essence of French cuisine arguably lies within the ability to build on layers of flavours, whilst highlighting the quality of main ingredients at the same time.
The French often believe in a variety of cooking styles to complement each individual component; perhaps that is why techniques such as sautéing, roasting, braising, poaching, and broiling remain classic favourites. Apart from the quintessential staples such as butter and cheese, traditional French cuisine tends to utilise a heavy load of local produce – from mushrooms and leeks to poultry, beef, and lamb.
An authentic dining experience typically consists of three courses. It starts off with the hors d'œuvre (pronounced as ‘or-derves’) that is basically an appetiser or the introductory course. Popular options vary from soupe à l'oignon (French onion soup), escargots à la bourguignonne (snails in garlic-herb butter), to smoked salmon canapés.
It will then be followed by plat principal (pronounced as plah-pren-see-pal), otherwise known as the main course that primarily focuses on protein. Pot-au-feu (French beef stew), blanquette de veau (veal ragout), and classic sole meunière (pan-fried dredged fish) are some of the well-loved classics amongst the French. This course is traditionally accompanied by baguette and vegetables, served on the side.
For more casual occasions, an exquisite selection of artisan cheeses will be served before dessert to signify the end of a meal. Otherwise, traditional dessert offerings such as crème brûlée, chocolate mousse, and profiteroles are often favoured on the dining table.